PESHAWAR: President Asif Ali Zardari urged the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to stop relying on the armed forces in their efforts to improve security situation in the province, and instead motivate police and other agencies for the purpose.
Addressing a special session of the provincial assembly, he said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had a rich culture, great traditions and huge deposits of natural resources, including oil and gas. The only thing it lost was law and order, he added.
He said the province would have to rely on its own strength for improving law and order situation. “How long you would rely on the army,” the president asked.
Earlier, he said, crime rate in the province was low and almost no incident of robbery.
He referred to Arab Spring and said difference between Pakistan and the Middle-Eastern countries which had gone through popular uprisings was that Pakistan had democratic institutions and had forced a military dictator to shed his uniform.
“We empowered parliament as soon as we could because stronger institutions would lead to a strong federation.” He said people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had suffered financial losses because of violence which had also shattered the social fabric. Political parties lost workers and leaders. But despite these adversities people remained steadfast. “Democracy is functioning here and you have demonstrated tolerance which is the essence of democracy.”
The president said people had been fighting the mindset which was responsible for an attack on Jamaat-i-Islami leader Qazi Hussain Ahmad in Mohmand Agency on Monday.
“Nobody can say that Mr Ahmad is not a practising Muslim but even he was not spared,” he said.
He urged the people of Pakistan to wage a war against the mentality. He said parliament was completing its five-year term which was a sign of maturity of political process. Reconciliation was the only way forward, he said and praised Mian Nawaz Sharif and other leaders for playing a significant role for strengthening democratic institutions.
The president said he had surrendered his powers to parliament and the government had provided autonomy to the federating units and announced the National Finance Commission award. The measures, he said, would strengthen provinces as well as the federation.
Earlier, leader of opposition in the provincial assembly Akram Durrani praised President Zardari for empowering parliament and provinces.
He asked the president to ensure implementation of a joint resolution of parliament to amicably resolve the issue of militancy in the province and Fata.
He demanded a two-year extension of the economic package earlier announced for the province by the federal government.
Treasury and opposition benches heard the president’s address patiently without raising any slogan against him. The only slogans heard were raised by the PPP lawmakers, particularly women, welcoming the president.
Talking to journalists, Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti and Mr Durrani praised the president’s address and termed it a landmark in the history of the country.
However, his address disappointed the legislators who were expecting him to announce a development package for the province, particularly rehabilitation of militancy-stricken people.
A member of the cabinet and several MPAs of the ruling party also expressed dissatisfaction.
The leader of opposition said: “The president had the opportunity to announce a special package to win the heart and minds of the people.”